The Los Angeles Lakers had a great opportunity on Wednesday to beat a Memphis Grizzlies team without Ja Morant and take a two-game lead in the series. Instead, Anthony Davis (and others) forgot to show up and the Lake Show dropped an incredibly disappointing game.
As promising as the series looked after Game 1, it is safe to say that this is anyones for the taking. The Grizzlies are not going to roll over to LeBron James and the Lakers, even if Morant does not play.
If Los Angeles is going to pull this off and advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs then some changes are going to have to be made.
3 changes Lakers must make to get past Grizzlies:
1. Give D’Angelo Russell fewer minutes
D’Angelo Russell has played three really poor halves of basketball for the Lakers thus far in the series. He was bad in the first half of Game 1 and salvaged it with a strong second half. He then followed that up with a bad game from start to finish in Game 2 in which some of his biggest flaws were on full display.
Russell’s tendency to try and play hero ball and the mistakes he makes on defense and in transition are similar to that of Russell Westbrook. It is not quite as bad as Westbrook, especially since Russell is actually a shooting threat, but there are some similarities there.
Russell does not need to be booted out of the rotation entirely but he should not be playing 30 minutes like he did in Game 2. For now, a 50/50 split with Dennis Schroder at 24 minutes seems fair and if Russell can earn more playing time then he will get it.